These policies govern the behaviour and/or the conducts of our journalists and guide Techeconomy activities as we deliver news and information in a rapidly changing media environment. We consider these principles to be a “living document” that we will continually modify and update based on feedback from our journalists, from our communities (readers) and from our perceptions of our changing needs. Because the circumstances under which information is obtained and reported vary widely from one case to the next, these guidelines should not be understood as establishing hard and fast rules or as covering every situation that might arise.
Conflict of interest
Techeconomy is pledged to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest wherever and whenever possible. We have adopted stringent policies on these issues, conscious that they may be more restrictive than is customary in the world of private business.
We neither seek nor accept preferential treatment that might be rendered because of the positions we hold; becloud our judgment of issues or objectivity and fairness.
A reporter or editor also cannot accept payment from any person, company or organization that he or she covers.
It is important that no freelance assignments and no honoraria be accepted that might in any way be interpreted as disguised gratuities. We make every reasonable effort to be free of obligation to news sources and to special interests. We must be wary of entanglement with those whose positions render them likely to be subjects of journalistic interest and examination. Our private behavior as well as our professional behavior must not bring discredit to Techeconomy or to our profession.
We avoid active involvement in any partisan causes — politics, community affairs, social action, demonstrations — that could compromise or seem to compromise our ability to report and edit fairly.
Reporters and editors of Techeconomy are committed to fairness. While arguments about objectivity are endless, the concept of fairness is something that editors and reporters can easily understand and pursue. Fairness results from a few simple practices: No story is fair if it omits facts of major importance or significance. Fairness includes completeness.
No story is fair if it includes essentially irrelevant information at the expense of significant facts. Fairness includes relevance.
No story is fair if it consciously or unconsciously misleads or even deceives the reader. Fairness includes honesty — leveling with the reader.
No story is fair if it covers individuals or organizations that have not been given the opportunity to address assertions or claims about them made by others. Fairness includes diligently seeking comment and taking that comment genuinely into account.
Techeconomy respects taste and decency, understanding that society’s concepts of taste and decency are constantly changing. A word offensive to the last generation can be part of the next generation’s common vocabulary. But we shall avoid prurience. We shall avoid profanities and obscenities unless their use is so essential to a story of significance that its meaning is lost without them. In no case shall obscenities be used without the approval of the executive or managing editors.
If editors decide that content containing potentially offensive material has a legitimate news value, editors should use visual and/or text warnings about such material. For example, we may link to a Web page that contains material that does not meet standards for Techeconomy original content, but we let users know what they might see before they click the link by including a warning, such as “Warning: Some images on this site contain graphic images of violence.” Finally, we do not link to sites that aid or abet illegal (unlawful, illegitimate, illicit, criminal) activity.
The separation of news columns from the editorial pages is solemn and complete. This separation is intended to serve the reader, who is entitled to the facts in the news columns and to opinions on the editorial and “op-ed” pages. But nothing in this separation of functions is intended to eliminate from the news columns honest, in-depth reporting, or analysis or commentary when plainly labeled. The labels are designed as follows:
Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events.
Discussion of news topics with a point of view, including narratives by individuals regarding their own experiences.
Opinion: A column or blog in the Opinions section.
A professional critic’s assessment of a service, product, performance, or artistic or literary work.
Social media platforms can be useful as a reporting tool and strengthen our ability to find new audiences, but it is important to remember that social media accounts maintained by Techeconomy journalists — whether on Facebook, Thread, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, WhatsApp or elsewhere — inevitably reflect upon Techeconomy’s reputation and credibility. Techeconomy journalists who choose to use these platforms will be expected to do so responsibly, in accordance with the guidelines below.
A Techeconomy journalist’s use of social media must not harm the editorial integrity or journalistic reputation of this company. Your association with Techeconomy gives you a large platform and may bring you a blue checkmark and added followers. Along with that comes our collective responsibility to protect that integrity and reputation. This guidance applies to content you post or amplify – such as in a retweet, like or share – on any digital platform. Techeconomy journalists should ensure that their activity on social media platforms would not make reasonable people question their editorial independence, nor make reasonable people question Techeconomy’s ability to cover issues fairly. Our newsroom’s diversity strengthens our journalism, and Techeconomy journalists can bring their backgrounds, identity and experiences to their social accounts. It is not appropriate to use your social media account to advocate for causes, issues, governmental policies or political or judicial outcomes. Also, avoid curating your feeds in ways that suggest you have a partisan point of view on an issue Techeconomy covers. This particular guidance does not apply to columnists, critics and other practitioners of opinion journalism posting as part of their work.
Before you publish a post on social media, ask yourself if it compromises our newsroom’s mission to prioritize fact-finding. Ask yourself if it would be harmful for your message to be associated with Techeconomy. Ask yourself if the words or images you are using – especially if your message includes offensive content – will undermine Techeconomy’s journalistic reputation for reporting the news fairly, accurately and without bias. If the answer to any of these is yes, don’t post.
Techeconomy journalists should be civil on social media and treat people with respect. The values that define a Techeconomy journalist – professionalism, empathy, collegiality and a focus on the facts – should be demonstrated on our social media accounts and in our interactions with colleagues, competitors and our broader audience. Social media is not the platform to engage in disputes with your colleagues. When mentioning or tagging someone on social media – a colleague, competitor, source or someone else – be aware that such posts can bring undue attention and sometimes harassment to those who are tagged.
Employees may not publicly reveal internal discussions or communications concerning editorial issues such as coverage plans, reporting of stories, and decisions to publish or not to publish. Employees also may not post proprietary or confidential business information. This includes verbal discussions or written communications that take place in email or in other forums or platforms maintained by Techeconomy. Employees can and should have the expectation that internal editorial communications will not be made public. There may be occasions when Techeconomy, in the interest of providing transparency about our work, will publish internal materials on an external platform.
At all times, Techeconomy journalists should avoid using their affiliation with Techeconomy for personal benefit or private gain. It is not appropriate to use your social media account to air personal grievances with an individual or to mention a company in a way that could be construed as unwarranted criticism or seeking favor or special treatment. Techeconomy journalists shouldn’t use their accounts to endorse products, companies, non-profit organizations or political figures.
It is a top priority for Techeconomy to protect its journalists. The company recognizes that harassment on social media continues to become more sophisticated and frequent. We will work to protect our journalists from these campaigns publicly and privately. These sorts of attacks do not give Techeconomy journalists license to violate this policy in retaliation. If you are a frequent target, your beat places you at greater risk, or you have other reasons to be concerned about your social media presence, Techeconomy will work with you to develop a plan that protects your safety and reputation. If you receive threatening messages or another form of online harassment, your first action should be to send an e-mail to the HR or the managing editor.
Generally, Techeconomy advises our journalists not to respond to threats directly. If you feel there is a need for a public response, please consult with a member of newsroom leadership before responding. When appropriate, we can organize a response on your behalf. The managing editor is responsible, in concert with newsroom leadership, for ensuring these guidelines are followed. If you have any questions or need clarification concerning this policy, you should contact the managing editor. Scope of Policy This policy is intended to comply with all federal, state and local laws, and will not be applied or enforced in a manner that violates federal, state or local laws. Nothing in this policy is intended, or will be applied, to prohibit employees from engaging in concerted activities that are protected under federal laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The national interest
Techeconomy is vitally concerned with the national interest and with the community interest. We believe these interests are best served by the widest possible dissemination of information. The claim of national interest by a federal official does not automatically equate with the national interest. The claim of community interest by a State or Local official does not automatically equate with the State/Community interest.
A journalist’s role
Although it has become increasingly difficult in an Internet age, reporters should make every effort to remain in the audience, to be the stagehand rather than the star, to report the news, not to make the news. In gathering news, journalists will not misrepresent their identity or their occupation. They will not portray themselves as police officers, physicians or anything other than journalists.
Verification and fact-checking standards
Techeconomy reporters have primary responsibility for reporting, writing and fact-checking their stories. Stories are subject to review by one or more editors. Editors who oversee digital platforms/Social Media Manager also may be involved in the presentation of stories as well as headlines, news alerts and newsletters. The number of editors who review a story prior to publication and the extent of their involvement varies depending on a range of factors, including complexity, sensitivity and the pressure of time.
Techeconomy strives for a nimble, accurate and complete news report. We endeavor to be promptly responsive in correcting errors in material published on our digital platforms. When we run a correction, clarification or editor’s note, our goal is to tell readers, as clearly and quickly as possible, what was wrong and what is correct. Anyone should be able to understand how and why a mistake has been corrected.
Updating a report
Our individual pieces of journalism evolve as we sharpen and improve them. Our readers expect that from us in the digital age. It is unnecessary to put notes on stories stating that a story has been updated unless there is a particular reason to note the addition of new information or other change; the time stamp signals to readers that they are reading a developing story. It is necessary to use a correction, clarification or editor’s note to inform readers whenever we correct a significant mistake.
If we are substantively correcting an article, photo caption, headline, graphic, video or other material, we should promptly publish a correction explaining the change.
When our journalism is factually correct but the language, we used to explain those facts is not as clear or detailed as it should be, the language should be rewritten and a clarification added to the story. A clarification can also be used to note that we initially failed to seek a comment or response that has since been added to the story or that new reporting has shifted our account of an event.
A correction that calls into question the entire substance of an article, raises a significant ethical matter or addresses whether an article did not meet our standards, may require an editor’s note and be followed by an explanation of what is at issue. A senior editor must approve the addition of an editor’s note to a story.
Other corrections policies
When an error is found by a Techeconomy reader and posted to the comment stream, the audience engagement team should indicate in comments that it has been corrected.
If we have sent out incorrect information in an alert, we should send out an alert informing people that the news reported in the earlier alert was wrong and give readers the accurate information.
When we publish erroneous information on social networks, we should correct it on that platform.
We do not attribute blame to individual reporters or editors (e.g., “because of a reporting error” or “because of an editing error”). But we may note that an error was the result of a production problem or because incorrect information came to us from a trusted source (wire services, individuals quoted, etc.).
Take-down (unpublish) requests
Because of the ease with which our published content can be searched and retrieved online, even years after publication, we are increasingly being asked to take down (or “unpublish”) articles from our website. As a matter of editorial policy, we do not grant take-down requests, which should be vetted at the highest level. If the subject claims that the story was inaccurate, we should be prepared to investigate and, if necessary, publish a correction. And there may be situations in which fairness demands an update or follow-up coverage — for example, if we reported that a person was charged with a cybercrime but did not report that the charges were later dismissed for lack of evidence/merit. In short, our response will be to consider whether further editorial action is warranted, but not to remove the article as though it had never been published. When we publish publicly available personal data, we only will review takedown requests if the person involved is under threat of physical harm because of the existence of the material.
Policy on sources
Techeconomy is committed to disclosing to its readers the sources of the information in its stories to the maximum possible extent. We want to make our reporting as transparent to the readers as possible so they may know how and where we got our information. Transparency is honest and fair, two values we cherish.
Sources often insist that we agree not to name them before they agree to talk with us. We must be reluctant to grant their wish. When we use an unnamed source, we are asking our readers to take an extra step to trust the credibility of the information we are providing. We must be certain in our own minds that the benefit to readers is worth the cost in credibility.
In some circumstances, we will have no choice but to grant confidentiality to sources. We recognize that there are situations in which we can give our readers better, fuller information by allowing sources to remain unnamed than if we insist on naming them. We realize that in many circumstances, sources will be unwilling to reveal to us information about corruption in their own organizations, or high-level policy disagreements, for example, if disclosing their identities could cost them their jobs or expose them to harm.
Nevertheless, granting anonymity to a source should not be done casually or automatically.
Named sources are vastly to be preferred to unnamed sources. Reporters should press to have sources go on the record.
Editors have an obligation to know the identity of unnamed sources used in a story, so that editors and reporters can jointly assess the appropriateness of using them.
We prefer at least two sources for factual information in Techeconomy stories that depend on confidential informants, and those sources should be independent of each other. We prefer sources with firsthand or direct knowledge of the information.
Dealing with sources
We strive to treat sources fairly. This means putting statements we quote into context, and summarizing the arguments of people we quote in ways that are recognizably fair and accurate. Potentially controversial statements by public figures and others should be quoted in a complete sentence or paragraph when possible, and in context. In some cases, this will mean making clear what question was being answered when the statement was made.
When seeking comment from people who are the subject of a story, we should give them a reasonable opportunity to respond to us. This means not calling at the last minute before deadline if we have any choice about timing.
We do not promise sources that we will refrain from additional reporting or efforts to verify the information they may give us.
We should not publish ad hominem quotations from unnamed sources. Sources who want to take a shot at someone should do so in their own names. We should avoid blind quotations whose only purpose is to add color to a story.
We do not use pseudonyms, and we do not mislead our readers about the identities of people who appear in our stories. In the rare situations when we decide to identify someone by other than their full name, we do so in a straightforward manner — by using a first name only, for example. Editors must participate in decisions to provide less than a full name, and we must explain to readers why we are not using full names. We do not fool or mislead sources. When identifying ourselves, we say we are reporters for Techeconomy. Our reporting should be honorable; we should be prepared to explain publicly anything we do to get a story.
We must be truthful about the source of our information. Facts and quotations in a story that were not produced by our own reporting must be attributed. Attribution of material from other media must be total.
Plagiarism is not permitted. It is the policy of Techeconomy to give credit to other publications that develop exclusive stories worthy of coverage by this medium.
Readers should be able to distinguish between what the reporter saw and what the reporter obtained from other sources such as wire services, pool reporters, email, websites, etc.
We place a premium value on original reporting. We expect Techeconomy reporters to see as much as they can of the story they are reporting and to talk to as many participants as possible. Reporters should consider the advantages of reporting from the scene of events they are covering whenever that is possible. If a reporter was not present at a scene described in a story, the story should make that clear.
Any significant reporting by a stringer, staff member or other Techeconomy employee should be credited in a byline or a tagline at the end of a story.
Diversity is at the core of Techeconomy journalism. Accurately reporting stories from Nigeria and around the world means engaging a variety of voices as interviewees and first-person writers, striving for a staff that reflects a range of backgrounds and life experiences, and seeking feedback from all who would give it. (We are taking a cue from The Washington Post editorial policy).
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